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Genesis 42 Chapter 1 - 21

Genesis Chapter 42 Verse 1-21

Verse 01. Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why

do ye look one upon another?

Key Phrase: Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt; That is, to be sold there, or

otherwise it being there would be useless it could bot ne bought. Thus would have

been of no reason for foreigners to travel to get it. Now Jacob had either seen

persons passing by with corn, of whom he inquired from whence they had it, who

replied, from Egypt. Or he understood by the report of others that corn was to be

bought there.

Key Phrase: Jacob said unto, his sons, why do ye look one upon another? like persons in

surprise, distress and despair, at their wits' end, not knowing what to do, what

course to take, which way to turn themselves, scarce able to speak to one another,

and consult with each other what was proper to be done. The meaning may be,

"why do ye look?" here and there, in the land of Canaan, where it is to no purpose

to look for corn when none is to be found, look where it is to be had.

Verse 02. And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither,

and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

Key Phrase: And he said, behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt; This explains what

Is meant by the phrase he saw, one sense being put for another.

Key Phrase: get ye down thither; As fast as you can without delay. Egypt lay lower or south of

Canaan, and therefore they are bid to go down.

Key Phrase: and buy for us from thence, that we may live, and not die; Which shows the fact

that the famine was very pressing. Unless they could buy corn from Egypt they

could not live, but would die.

Verse 03. And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.

Note: They obeyed their father's orders, and immediately set out for Egypt. The "ten" of them

went down in a group all together. All except Benjamin, so that it is easily reckoned who

they were. They are called brethren not Jacob’s sons as they were normally referred

too. Each representing they’re own family not Jacob’s as a monarchy.

Note: They could carry more corn with ten and it would be bought by each to supply the

family. Also to prevent theft on the road to Egypt people were desperate during this

famine and would take it from travelers if possibl

Verse 04. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest

peradventure mischief befall him.

Key Phrase: But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren’ Benjamin is

called Joseph's brother, because he was so both by father and the mother's side,

as the rest were not. Jacob kept him with him, being the youngest and his darling,

the only son he had with him of his beloved wife Rachel. Very probably the more

beloved by him since he had suffered the loss of Joseph. It was not only to keep

him company that he retained him at home, but for the reason following.

Key Phrase: for he said, lest peradventure mischief befall him; Jacob is referring to what had

befallen to Joseph his brother, as he imagined. It was also that he thought that

either that the journey would be too much for him, being young. Lest he should

be seized with sickness on the road or rather with death.

Verse 05. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine

was in the land of Canaan.

Key Phrase: And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came; Either among

the Egyptians that came to buy or among those who came from countries outside

of Egypt.

Note: The use of the tern sons of Israel is used not the sons of Jacob because they represent

not their father but the 12 tribes that will become Israel. Jacob was given the name by

God of Israel by God.

Special Note: In Genesis 12:10 Abraham went down into Egypt because the famine was in the

land of Canaan. This is not the first time famine has been in the land of Canaan.

Verse 06. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the

people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves

before him with their faces to the earth.

Key Phrase: And Joseph was the governor over the land; Not the land of Canaan which was

Last mentioned, but the land of Egypt. Under Pharaoh, he had the chief and sole

authority, and especially in the affair of the corn, and the disposal of that.

Key Phrase: and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: Of Egypt, and also to all that

came out of other lands to buy. We know that he in person could not do all this,

but by those that acted under him.

Key Phrase: and bowed down themselves before him, with their faces to the earth; They

prostrated their whole bodies, stretching out their hands and feet, and touching

the ground with their faces, as was the manner of the eastern countries.

Note: They submit themselves to him in the most humble manner, and thereby, though

without their knowledge, fulfilled his dream of their sheaves making obeisance to his

sheaf, see Genesis 37:7.

Verse 07. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto

them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye?

And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

Key Phrase: And Joseph saw his brethren; Among those that came to buy corn. He would of

course recognize them.

Key Phrase: and he knew them; Even though it had been more than 22 years at this point.

Their appearance had changed, their beards grown when they sold him their

habits and dress now being much the same it was when he was younger.

Key Phrase: but made himself strange unto them; He would act as if he took no notice of

them as his relatives. He conveyed himself to them as he did to other foreigners

yet more strangely then normal.

Key Phrase: and spake roughly unto them; Hard, with authority in his words. Put on a stern

countenance, and spoke with a high tone and in a rough surly manner to them. :

Key Phrase: and he said unto them, whence come ye?; He is asking who are you? What

country are you from? What is your business here? These would seem to be

normal questions to the sons of Israel from a governor of Egypt.

Note: For Joseph to have these questions asked was not normal. His assistants would have

normally recorded this information and sold the grain to them and told them to leave.

Key Phase: and they said, from the land of Canaan to buy food; 1st For which they could not

get in Canaan, the famine being there so great. 2nd To see if they would be truthful

to him about their purpose. All Joseph remembers of them is hatred and disdain.

Verse 08. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

Verse 09. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto

them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

Key Phase: And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them; Their bowing

and prostrating themselves before him brought to his remembrance his dreams of

their sheaves making obeisance to his, and of the sun, moon, and eleven stars,

doing the same to him, Genesis 37:7.

Note: Did you catch the specific correlation with the sheaves or stalks bundled together of the

corn (grain) is exactly what they are their requesting from him.

Key Phrase: and said unto them, ye are spies; Not believing they were, nor absolutely

accusing or asserting that they were such. This he said to try them, and what they

would say for themselves, and in order to lead on to further discourse with them.

Note: Joseph dealt with them as a judge on the bench, when examining persons, whose

charges have the nature of an interrogation, as this has: "ye are spies"; are ye not? surely

ye must be, and unless you give a better account of yourselves, I must think you are.

Key Phrase: to see the nakedness of the land ye are come; what parts of it are weakest or

most defenseless, less fortified easiest to break in at and invade the land. It was

not without reason that the Egyptians might suspect the neighboring nations

round about them, being in distress, and hearing of corn in Egypt.

Note: The pretext for this sudden accusation lies in the constant exposure of the Egyptians on

their eastern border, to raids and attacks from nomad hordes of Asiatics. Joseph’s words

are therefore quite natural. Others had formed ideas or plans of coming upon them and

taking away their corn by force. Thus the reason why foreigners that came to buy corn

were brought before Joseph and examined by him. God was with him in discernment of

the hearts of men. God is with Joseph always because of his faithfulness and Gods plan.

Verse 10. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.

Key Phrase: And they said unto him, nay, my lord; One in the name of the rest or each in his

turn, denying that they were spies. Thus addressing him with the reverence and

in submission, calling him their lord. This further supports his dreams in his youth.

Key Phrase: but to buy food are thy servants come; That they had and no other purpose

except what they came to Egypt for to by corn so they would not perish.

Verse 11. We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

Key Phrase: We are all one man's sons; It would be foolish for us to be spies, since we all have

the same father, therefore we are not likely to be spies.

Note: It could hardly be thought that a single family should engage in such an affair. Or that

one man would send his sons as spies and especially all of them. It being a dangerous

affair and they liable to be captured and put to death.

Key Phrase: we are true men; That spoke truth when they said they came to buy corn. They

are honest, upright, and sincere in what they said. They are not telling a lie.

Key Phrase: thy servants are no spies; This they expressed in the strongest terms with the

fullest assurance they could, detesting the charge and character of being spies.

Note: They call themselves his servants again affirmation of his dreams.

Verse 12. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

Key Phrase: And he said unto them, nay; This argument will not do, I am not to be put off

with such words as these. Joseph is saying, if you can produce no better proof of

your being honest men than this and give no better account of yourselves. You

are saying that I must abide by it, Nay or No.

Key Phrase: to see the nakedness of the land ye are come; This he urged in order to get a

reaction and further information from them of their family and the state of it,

which he was anxious to know.

Verse 13. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of

Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.

Key Phrase: And they said, thy servants are twelve brethren; Or rather, "were twelve", since

one afterwards is said not to be. That they are all related.

Key Phrase: the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; Of course they are of Jacob, who

dwelt there. This is said with the same view as before, to show the improbability

of their being spies:

Key Phrase: and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father; Meaning Benjamin, of

whom Joseph was eager to hear of, and no doubt was glad to hear he was alive.

And his father also and that they were both together in the land of Canaan.

Key Phrase: and one is not; Is not in the land of the living, is dead. Or so they thought Joseph

was, who is the person intended, as appears from what both Reuben and Judah

afterwards say, Genesis 42:22.

Note: Yet here he was before them, and was the person they were speaking to. This must

have been very difficult to hear, who knew full well they meant himself.

Verse 14. And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:

Key Phrase: That is it that I spake; Or just as I have spoken or claimed you to be. Joseph

seems to say that their claim to be all the sons of one man is improbable and

suspicious. If these suspicions are to be removed, their statements must be

verified.

Verse 15. Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence,

except your youngest brother come hither.

Key Phrase: Hereby ye shall be proved; Whether you are spies or not. By producing their

youngest brother, said to be at home with his father. (continued)

Key Phrase: by the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother

come hither; The phrase, "by the life of Pharaoh", seems to be the form of an

oath, as it was common with many nations. It is a strong asseveration. As dear as

the life of Pharaoh was to him. So surely they should not leave from the place

where they were, unless their youngest brother Benjamin was brought to him.

Note: It is recorded with the Scythians, who used to swear by the royal throne. The Romans, in

later times, by the life, health, and genius of their emperor. The custom continued with

the Egyptians. Even today you taken an oath in court “to tell the whole truth and nothing

but the truth so help you God.”

Verse 16. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that

your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of

Pharaoh surely ye are spies.

Key Phrase: Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother; He proposes that one of them

might be sent by them to their father's house, and bring, Benjamin down to Egypt.

Key Phrase: and ye shall be kept in prison; The rest of them till he came back with Benjamin.

Key Phrase: that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you; By this

action it would be seen whether they were men of truth and honesty or not. And

should their brother be brought. It would appear they to be good men and true.

Key Phrase: or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely ye are spies; Should not their brother they

spoke of be produced. Then it would be plain and a simple case that they were

not the honest men they pretended to be. And they did not come merely to buy

corn, but had an ill intention as spies and sentenced to put to death.

Verse 17. And he put them all together into ward three days.

Key Phrase: And he put them all together into ward three days.; In order to consult together,

and agree who should be sent to fetch their brother. Which it seems probable in

this length of time they could agree upon one. But not one of them caring to be

the bringer of such news and demand to their father.

Note: He put them into ward, is a very specific placement. Not the dungeon or hole in the

ground but a ward would be under supervision and under guard.

Verse 18. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:

Key Phrase: And Joseph said unto them the third day; He put on such an appearance asking

them who they had choose. And finding they could not come to an agreement

among themselves who should go on the errand. He recedes from his former

order, and to give them another option.

Key Phrase: this do, and live: The meaning of what he was about to say to them, which if they

punctually observed and performed, it would be the means of saving their lives.

Key Phrase: for I fear God; He is saying he would not do either an unjust or cruel thing. This

might have given them an idea who he was. Yet there being among the Gentiles,

in all nations, some few that feared God, they took no further notice of it. And

heard only that they might expect just and equitable dealings by him. Since

he was in such an high position in Egypt he knew there was one higher than God,

to whom he was accountable.